I decided not to write or draw this month. (Except for this blog.) That way, I can come back down to Earth and refocus on real-life matters, like budgeting, eating better, and cleaning my apartment. This is a yearly tradition. Each January, I tune into the real world again. It’s relieving and refreshing. It’s like stepping off a high-speed treadmill and catching my breath.
The other day, my friend David Mott, pictured above, challenged me to write a short story (1,000 words or less) in one week. He said he would write one too. In one week’s time, we would meet up and read what each other had written. At first, I hesitated. Then I decided to take him up on it. But I wrote my story in just two days. On the third day, I submitted it to two magazines. After that, I returned to my “January Sabbatical.”
Since then, I’ve barely thought about the story at all. It’s bliss. Usually, when I write a piece of fiction, it consumes my mind. I spend all my time worrying about it and I consequently neglect everything else in my life — such as buying decent groceries and keeping my home clean.
But this time, it’s different. A week ago, I was cleaning and rearranging furniture and thinking of ways to manage my money. Then I knocked out a short story and went right back to those other things without ever losing sight of them.
Today, as I was walking into the mill, I thought about the original reason for my January Sabbaticals. I realized why I had started doing this thing in the first place, shutting down my creative activities in order to get re-acquainted with real-life responsibilities. It’s because, when I have a writing project (or an art project) in my life, I forget everything else. All the other areas of my life fall apart and become a pitiful train wreck. I forget to buy groceries, subsisting on McDonald’s food and vending machine trash instead. My home begins to look like a crime scene. And I don’t bother to save money. Therefore, I can only focus on one “section” of my life at a time. The creative stuff has to go out the window in order for me to focus on the important stuff.
But apparently, by the grace of God, I’m growing. I’m learning to juggle a little bit better now. For the past few years, different people in my life (particularly people at church) have mentioned the word “balance” to me. I feel like God has been urging me to lead a more balanced life. At first, I didn’t understand exactly what that meant … but now it’s becoming more clear to me. I think I’m learning to keep things balanced now.
So I might draw something before the end of the month.
You can click here to download a copy of my new e-book, Citizens of Purgatory. It’s a novel about a young sportswriter who doesn’t know anything about sports. His life becomes dangerously complicated when a crazy drunk man crashes into the back of his car one morning.